New Group Defends Common Core

Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - 04:24 PM

StudentsFirst organized Common Core supporters in December, and is now part of Higher Achievement NY to support the standards (Yasmeen Khan/WNYC)

After a bruising rollout of the Common Core learning standards in New York, a new group announced on Tuesday it's going to hit the virtual airwaves with pro-Common Core messaging.

Higher Achievement New York described itself as “an organized platform” that will explain what the new standards mean for children, and how they offer better preparation for college and careers, through social media advertising and lobbying.

“Our goal to foster positive conversation that hasn’t existed around these standards,” said the group’s executive director Frank Thomas, who previously worked in communications for the city’s Department of Education and Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign.

The group said it’s seeking to distinguish itself from what it called “a vocal group of special interests” who have attempted to delay the state standards. New York State United Teachers elected a new president who is deeply critical of the way the state rolled out the new standards. And state lawmakers, feeling the pressure from constituents, amended the rules forbidding districts from using Common Core-aligned test scores on student transcripts, at least through 2018.

Higher Achievement New York comprises business and community groups, such as La Raza, along with Educators4Excellence and StudentsFirst NY, two groups often critical of the teachers unions.

Heather Briccetti, President and C.E.O. of the Business Council of New York State, said she supported Common Core because state employers have had trouble finding qualified applicants.

“We feel very strongly that we need to raise the standards so we can be more competitive with the rest of the country,” she said.

A spokesman said the group would not contribute to political candidates. 


Comments [13]

Steven Sherman

Promotion of Astroturf posing as journalism. Is this piece a favor to some muckity-muck at the Times or around WNYC?

Apr. 24 2014 12:10 PM

There is nothing good about common core because it is based on a lie. Support the lie all you want, we will pray and we will stop it for our children.

Apr. 11 2014 12:12 AM
Michael P Goldenberg from Ann Arbor, MI

Lovely sloganeering. Now quickly: find me someone who advocates low expectations. Anyone. I'll wait.

Apr. 10 2014 08:52 PM
New Yorkers for Our Children from New York

Common Core is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. Do the people in the picture know what the standards were before? The curriculum and assessments are tied together and owned ONLY by two companies. In Common Core everyone is supposed to meet in the middle so the standards are actually lower than what they were. If values of homes come from how good a school is or not if we make all the schools the same then why don't I just move to Delaware where taxes are about $900? If every school is the same won't every neighborhood become somewhat same? Look at www dot founded on truth dot com where you can see RTT grant and great info on Common Core.

Apr. 09 2014 10:52 PM
Jory from Nor Cal

Since when are parents and teachers special interest groups? My children will not become a data statistic that can be used to further line the pockets of the for-profit businesses that have the most to lose if Common Core is shut down. I have forbidden the the school my children attend to administer the test to them, or to record/share any data on them. There is not one scrap of educational benefit from these tests, parents are not allowed to preview the test, all they do accomplish is waste the time of students and teachers from real education, and wastes the money of us hard working tax payers.

Apr. 09 2014 10:51 PM
kelly Watson from Mississippi

They keep saying it's getting them ready for college etc. Well, you have absolutely NO facts to back that up. However, we do have facts to prove ccis are a nightmare! !!!!

Apr. 09 2014 10:11 PM
Mom from District 2

Amandagov - New York State had a set of standards before Common Core. I don't think any public school in the state was allowed to maintain its own set of lower or less consistent ones. Maybe you mean the Common Core better spells out the implications for failing to meet the standards?

Apr. 09 2014 02:22 PM
amandagov from Manhattan

I think (hope) that everyone is all for higher standards. I think there are legitimate concerns about whether or not teachers were supported to transition from scattered standards to the Common Core. We shouldn't ditch the Common Core. We should make sure teachers are equipped to teach those standards. Honestly kids in failing schools have the most to gain from higher standards and if your kids are in well performing schools, please think about schools that have for many years had low or completely inconsistent standards for kids. On some levels this is a social justice issue.

Apr. 09 2014 01:51 PM

Higher Achievement New York sounds like a marketing firm. Parents and teachers and informed tax payers most certainly oppose common core. It's sad that billionaire funded,astroturf, groups like Higher Achievement New York are given any credibility.

Apr. 09 2014 07:56 AM
Jeanette Deutermann

It is a red flag when we see only corporations and those funded by Gates defending the standards. Since when does Exon Mobil spend millions on advertisements for curriculum and standards. When I see a large coalition of educators defending the standards, I may change my position. Corporate interest needs to stay out of education. I have to say, this groups works in favor of our movement to end this intrusion. People will see right through this sham no matter what name they give themselves.

Apr. 09 2014 06:51 AM
Follow the Money

Ah - found some information. It seems as if the Gates Foundation put about $150 million into developing the Common Core standards (SOURCE: and has put about $3 million into Educators 4 Excellence (SOURCE: - a group that is now part of the movement speaking out in their support referenced in the article. Interesting connection.

Apr. 08 2014 10:46 PM
Follow the Money NY

I think it would be interesting to note the funding behind some of the groups affiliated here. I believe Educators4Excellence receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Would be interested to learn if any funding is behind the other groups - and if so, from where.

Apr. 08 2014 10:38 PM
Jenny Ju from Bronx, NY

There is nothing wrong with Common Core standards. In fact, it is a very good idea. Nobody wants watered down or lower standards. What people object to are high stakes poorly constructed tests, contents of which is shrouded in secrecy and the amount of time and resources devoted to nothing other than test prep.

Apr. 08 2014 09:21 PM

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